HUNDREDS of people in Cardiff have approached the city council for help in avoiding homelessness since the beginning of the year.

Cardiff Council data shows that 596 people approached the local authority’s homelessness prevention team and all of them are still waiting for their cases to be concluded.

The council said it has a good track record of preventing homelessness, with a current success rate of 80%, but it added that some cases cannot be prevented and encouraged anyone threatened with homelessness to get in touch with them as soon as possible for support.

Data from the council also shows that 858 people have presented themselves as homeless in the city since January 2024.

Head of campaigns at Shelter Cymru, Robin White, said: “These figures show the extent of the problem in terms of people presenting as homeless but sadly, for many families, these figures capture only the start of a process during which they may face significant challenges in securing a permanent home, including extended periods trapped in temporary accommodation.”

The most common reason for people presenting themselves to Cardiff Council’s homelessness prevention team since January 2024 was ‘loss of rented or tied accomodation’ (187), according to council data.

This was followed by relatives or friends no longer willing or able to accommodate (97), a property being unsuitable (85), a parent no longer willing or able to accommodate (80) and getting into rent arrears on private sector accommodation (39).

Nine people presented themselves as homeless due to getting into arrears with their mortgage and 16 presented themselves due to a violent relationship breakdown.

The data showed that the main reason for people presenting themselves as homeless in the city since January was due to loss of rented or tied accommodation (203 people).

Mr White from Shelter Cymru said: “The fact that there are high numbers of people from the private rented sector is of no surprise and reflects what we at Shelter Cymru are seeing in our own casework across Wales, with almost half of cases we see coming from this part of the housing sector.

“In no small part this is because – despite good progress on regulation in recent years – far too many people continue to rely on the private rented sector when it isn’t fit for purpose for them.

“A problem that has been exacerbated in recent years by significant, and ongoing, increases to the cost of renting in Wales.”

One of the biggest reasons for homelessness was loss of rented accommodationOne of the biggest reasons for homelessness was loss of rented accommodation (Image: PA Media)

Cardiff Council’s figures on people presenting as homeless since January 2024 relate to cases where households or individuals present to services when they are already homeless and the council has had no opportunity to work with them to explore options for preventing the homelessness.

The figures show that the second most common group presenting as homeless since the beginning of the year were prison leavers (164).

They also show that 47 people presented as homeless because of a violent relationship breakdown with a partner and seven presented themselves due to getting into arrears on private sector dwellings.

Mr White added: “Everyone in Wales should have access to a safe, secure, suitable and genuinely affordable home.

“To make this a reality though we need to take action in the short, medium and long-term including ending no-fault evictions to provide security of tenure, lobbying the Westminster Government to ensure the welfare system is fit for purpose in homelessness prevention and that Local Housing Allowance is set at a level that truly reflects rents, and ultimately an increase in the supply of genuinely affordable social homes without which there is no route to ending the housing emergency we face today in Wales.”

Cardiff, like cities across the UK is currently grappling with a housing crisis that has left the council dealing with a significant demand for homes.
Recent figures published by the council show that in the city there are currently 1,028 single people in temporary and emergency accommodation, 122 families living in hotels and 595 families in standard temporary provision.

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “The council has a good track record of preventing households from becoming homeless; the prevention success rate currently stands at 80% where the household has sought support.

“Our homeless prevention team works with households at risk of becoming homeless to help keep them in their own homes, or to find alternative affordable housing, avoiding the need for them to move into temporary accommodation.

“Unfortunately, some cases cannot be prevented but we encourage anyone threatened with homelessness to get in touch with us as early as possible for the best chance of successfully preventing homelessness.”